Sep 18, 2016; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin looks on against the Cincinnati Bengals during the second quarter at Heinz Field. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
We at Inside The Iggles recently sat down with Kim Myers of “Still Curtain” to discuss the upcoming matchup with the Eagles and Bears on Sunday.
Just in case you’ve been living under a rock, the Philadelphia Eagles have a fight on their hands, this coming Sunday, as the Pittsburgh Steelers visit Lincoln Financial Field.
Many, even before the season started, have predicted that this will be a loss for the Eagles. The belief continued to dwindle as the Eagles made the decision to start rookie quarterback Carson Wentz. What a difference a couple of weeks makes. Both the Eagles and Steelers stand at 2-0, and this game will serve as one of the premier matchups on Sunday afternoon.
Can Wentz keep the magic going? Will the Steelers give the rookie and company a tougher test and give the Eagles their first loss? We brought in a dear friend Kim Myers, editor of Still Curtainto get some inside info on this one.
Sep 18, 2016; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton (14) and Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7) greet each other postgame at Heinz Field. The Pittsburgh Steelers won 24-16. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
1. The Steelers were honestly my preseason pick to win the AFC North and ultimately end up in the AFC Championship game. What’s the general consensus on how good this team is and how soon they can challenge for the Lombardi again?
I think the majority of the fanbase is cautiously optimistic about this season. They have all of the talent to make it the AFC Championship game, but one key injury could derail the whole operation. With that being said, they’ve already exceeded expectations after just two games without Le’Veon Bell, Markus Wheaton and Ladarius Green, who won’t even get to play until week nine.
If they can roll along with this unit, get healthy and get some guys back later like Green and Bud Dupree the rest of the AFC better watch out. Still, it doesn’t help that the Patriots seem to be able to dominate anyone they’re playing in spite of their missing pieces.
Aug 18, 2016; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers tight end Jesse James (81) is tackled after a catch by Philadelphia Eagles defensive end Alex McCalister (L) and cornerback Nolan Carroll (R) during the first quarter at Heinz Field. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
I think on the offensive side of the ball we’re going to hear a lot more about second-year tight end Jesse James. The Steelers have to go with a tight end by committee to start the season with Green sidelined. They also have to try to fill the void left behind by Heath Miller. It’s a tall task, but I think it’s one that James is up for. He’s been steadily progressing and played an integral part of the win last week over Cincinnati.
On the defensive side of the ball I think we’re going to hear more and more about Ryan Shazier. His speed and athleticism is what this new and revamped Steelers defense is all about. Provided he stays healthy I think he’s going to dominate the field in a position that mimics a lot like what Troy Polamalu used to do on the field where he’d line up just about any and everywhere.
Sep 18, 2016; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Cincinnati Bengals running back Jeremy Hill (32) is tackled by Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Ryan Shazier (50) and linebacker Lawrence Timmons (94) during the first quarter at Heinz Field. Mandatory Credit: Jason Bridge-USA TODAY Sports
3. Any theories for how this defense plans to game plan for the rookie quarterback Wentz and throw him off of his game? Who should this offense really be afraid of on defense?
The Steelers defense has been historically good against rookie quarterbacks, but that goes back to the Dick LeBeau days. Keith Butler‘s strategy is more of an elastic defense that firms up in the red zone.
There hasn’t been many sacks, much to the disappointment of die-hards who want the return of the “Steel Curtain” or “Blitzburgh”. With that being said, however, Wentz should look out for James Harrison. Just about anyone on the field should look out for James Harrison.
Sep 12, 2016; Landover, MD, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin gestures on the sidelines against the Washington Redskins in the fourth quarter at FedEx Field. The Steelers won 38-16. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
4. How can the confidence in Mike Tomlin by the Steelers’ fans be described? When the Steelers commit to a coach, they stick with it, but from the outside looking in, it’s sometimes tough to gauge how good he can be or actually is.
Tomlin is respected by the majority of Steelers fans. If you look at the other teams in our own division you appreciate Tomlin even more. On one hand you have the Cleveland Browns, who have zero continuity and therefore are continuously having to “rebuild” and change philosophies based on who is running the team from one moment to the next.
Then you have the Cincinnati Bengals, who have continuity but don’t have any results to show for it. There’s no reason to change a coaching staff just for the sake of change but there’s also no reason to stick with a coaching staff if they’ve never produced results for you.
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For those reasons Steelers fans respect what Tomlin brings to the table and with each year he gets more and more respect with how he handles the transition from one season to the next. In nine years he’s never had a losing season. We’ll certainly take that.
Sep 19, 2016; Chicago, IL, USA; Philadelphia Eagles running back Ryan Mathews (24) celebrates with running back Darren Sproles (43) after scoring a touchdown during the second half against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field. Philadelphia won 29-14. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports
5. What’s your prediction for the final outcome of this one?
I think the Steelers offense gets their groove back and Ben Roethlisberger and Antonio Brown along with DeAngelo Williams prove too much for the Eagles defense. I’d like to see the Steelers defense get some sacks on Wentz and hoping for some defensive points if they can. I’ll take the Steelers 32-17.
Check out Kim Myers and the rest of her talented staff on Still Curtain on the FanSided network, and follow her on Twitter where @Kimmy_KimKimM is her handle.